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The Fred Factor

Not too long ago, I read a book by Mark Sanborn entitled, The Fred Factor. The book is about a mailman who took his job seriously and consistently went above and beyond the call of duty in performing his job. While the book is not a "religious" book, the spiritual and biblical applications are everywhere.

Consequently, I have been teaching a Wednesday night adult class on the biblical principles contained in the "Fred Factor," and I have been challenging people to go out a be a "Fred." It has been interesting to see how much excitement this class has generated. People have taken up the challenge of being a "Fred" (translated--a disciple of Jesus) and going the second mile with people. I would heartily recommend the book to you. It is an easy read, being only 112 pages long.

Allow me to share a close encounter I had with being a "Fred" this past week. My son Michael and I went to the courthouse so that he could get his driving permit. As we stood in line, there was a 16-year-old girl in front of us who was bubbling over with excitement because she, too, had passed her driving permit. As she stood at the window, one of the clerks asked her if she had her birth certificate. She excitedly said, "Yes, Ma'am! I sure do!" Then the clerk asked her if she had her Social Security card. Again, with exuberance, she said, "Yes, Ma'am! I sure do!" Then the clerk said, "That will be $12.00." Suddenly, the girl's disposition changed. "$12.00? I don't think I have $12.00. I didn't know I had to pay anything." Well, she began digging through her wallet and could not come up with $12.00. Finally she asked, "Can I just run home real quick? I just live a few blocks away, and I'll bring you the money."

Can you guess what I did at that point? If you're thinking I gave her the $12.00 that she needed, keeping her from running home, and making a huge impact on her life by having an absolute stranger help her out, you would be wrong! Nope, I just stood there and watched her run out of the room and off toward home. Only after she was gone did I think, "What an opportunity to make a difference! And I missed it!" I could have kicked myself. Instead of being a "Fred," I was a "Claude." In fact, with a little reflection, I think I could probably write a book entitled, "The Claude Factor."

So I'll live and learn, and hopefully, I'll be more sensitive to the opportunities I have to make a difference in the lives of other people. I'll try harder, not because that's what "Fred" would do, but because that's what Jesus would do.

—Steve Higginbotham

Glad Tidings of Good Things
Volume 14 July 10, 2008